First Look: Mercedes-Benz Compact Tourer B Class

First Look: Mercedes-Benz Compact Tourer B Class

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
27 Aug 2011

Substantially more agile and efficient, but as comfortable and spacious as ever – the new B-Class from Mercedes-Benz is a winner on all fronts. The vehicle's lower height and more upright seat position provide for a first impression that hints at the compact sports tourer's dynamic credentials.

With a new four-cylinder petrol engine featuring direct injection and turbocharging, a new diesel engine, a new dual clutch transmission, a new manual transmission and new assistance systems, the front-wheel-drive car also rings in a new technological era for compact cars from Mercedes-Benz.

"No model change in the history of Mercedes-Benz has ever seen so many new developments introduced in one fell swoop," stresses Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Group Research and Head of Development, Mercedes-Benz Cars.

"Future B-Class customers will benefit from this quantum leap in terms of better fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions combined with driving pleasure, plenty of space and the highest standard of safety that has ever been available in this class."

The new vehicle concept underscores the dynamic aspirations of the new B-Class. The most striking aspect is the reduced height: at 1557 millimetres, the new model crouches almost five centimetres lower on the road than its predecessor. The seat height in relation to the road has also been reduced (minus 86 mm) in order to facilitate getting in and out of the car easily, while maintaining a clear overview of the vehicle's contours when driving.

In response to requests from many customers, the sitting position is more upright, however. At the same time, the headroom has been further improved. With maximum headroom of 1047 mm at the front (without sliding roof), the B-Class is among the most spacious cars in its segment in this discipline, too. The ergonomically expedient more upright sitting position in combination with a lowering of the vehicle's floor at the rear leads to a segment-leading degree of legroom (976 mm) which even surpasses that of the S- and E-Class.

The B-Class is optionally available with the EASY-VARIO-PLUS system. This enables simple reorganisation of the interior so as to enable the transportation of bulky items. Features of the EASY-VARIO-PLUS system include fore/aft adjustment of the rear seats by up to 140 millimetres (thereby increasing the luggage compartment volume from 488 to 666 litres) and a front passenger seat whose backrest can be folded forward onto the seat cushion.

The new four-cylinder petrol engines (internal designation M270) mark the launch of a completely new engine series in the new B Class. The combustion process is based on the third-generation Mercedes-Benz direct injection system which was introduced last year with the BlueDIRECT V6 and V8 engines. Its use in the B-Class marks this technology's debut in the compact segment. The new four-cylinder engines have been designed for both transverse and longitudinal installation. In the new B-Class they are initially available with a displacement of 1.6 litres, as the B 180 rated at 122 hp and the B 200 with an output of 156 hp. Their maximum torque of 200 and 250 Nm respectively is available from an engine speed of 1250 rpm.

The new four-cylinder diesel engine is a further development of the OM651 deployed in the C- to the S-Class, a common rail direct-injection engine of the third generation. With its displacement scaled down to 1.8 litres and numerous optimised points of detail, this is the first time that the compression-ignition engine has been mounted transversely in a Mercedes-Benz car. The B 180 CDI generates 109 hp of power, while the B 200 CDI has an output of 136 hp. The maximum torque stands at 250 Nm from 1400 rpm for the 80 kW variant and 300 Nm from 1600 rpm for the 100 kW variant.

Another Mercedes-Benz premiere is the new 7G-DCT dual clutch transmission in the B-Class. This transmission is extremely compact, extremely variable with regard to adaptation of the engine speed thanks to seven gears, features an electric oil pump for start/stop capability, shifts gear without any interruptions in tractive power and combines the comfort of an automatic with the efficiency of a manual transmission.

The new 6-speed manual transmission designed along similarly compact lines as a three-shaft transmission is a close relative of the DCT. Extremely easy gear shifting, low shift forces, low internal friction and a low weight are among its most important characteristics.

The world premiere of the new B-Class (length/width/height: 4359/1786/1557 millimetres) will take place at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (13 to 25 September 2011). It will be making its way to the UK in March 2012 .

Credits: wilswong

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